David Esterline Named Sixth President of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

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New president brings cross-cultural theological expertise to the Seminary

The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Board of Directors has named the Rev. Dr. David V. Esterline as president and professor of cross-cultural theological education for the degree programs at the Seminary. Dr. Esterline currently serves as the director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Education at McCormick Theological Seminary and was the dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs at McCormick from 1999-2009.

“Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, reflecting the challenges in the mainline churches, is in the process of reexamining how it prepares women and men in a multicultural church and society consistent with our mission. We are confident that Dr. Esterline brings experience, wisdom, integrity, and energy to lead Pittsburgh Seminary in these emerging strategies,” said Board Chair Sandy Lamb.

Dr. Esterline is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (A.B., religious studies), Oxford University, Trinity College (M.A., theology), and Graduate Theological Union (Ph.D., religion and education). He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon in 1987 and is currently a teaching elder in Blackhawk Presbytery (Illinois) of The Presbyterian Church (USA).

Joining the faculty of McCormick in 1997, he previously served as the director of the Doctoral Program and Continuing Education before becoming associate professor of cross-cultural education and ministry and later the James G. K. McClure Professor of Theological Education.

Dr. Esterline started his ministry as a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker in Cameroon and the Fiji Islands. In that capacity he has served as a lecturer at Theological College, Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, and as academic dean, lecturer, and chair of the Biblical Studies department at Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji Islands.

He researches, writes, and lectures internationally about Christian theological education worldwide. Dr. Esterline is co-chair of the recently formed Global Forum of Theological Educators, an initiative designed to provide a common table for mutual sharing among Evangelical, Pentecostal, Historical Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Independent educators. Additionally, Dr. Esterline has worked extensively with the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for more than 270 institutions in the United States and Canada that is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was a member of the Board of Commission on Accrediting (chair, 2010-2012), chaired numerous comprehensive evaluations, and presented various workshops on topics including diversity. He has also served with the World Council of Churches focusing on ecumenical theological education.

His church service has primarily been in Illinois as well as California and Fiji. He currently serves as parish associate at Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Ill.

Dr. Esterline is married to the Rev. Jane Esterline, pastor of Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Ill. They served together as mission co-workers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and have three children.

Dr. Esterline became president-elect of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on Feb. 4, 2015, and will assume his duties as president on June 15, 2015. He will succeed the Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III, who is retiring from the Seminary in June after nearly 10 years of service.    

About the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Founded in 1794, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate theological school of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rooted in the Reformed tradition, the Seminary is committed to the formation of women and men for theologically reflective ministry and to scholarship in service to the global Church of Jesus Christ.

Located on a 13-acre urban campus in the East Liberty/Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa., the Seminary houses nationally and internationally recognized programs such as the Church Planting Initiative, Continuing Education program, Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology, Metro-Urban Institute, Miller Summer Youth Institute, and World Mission Initiative. With a rich history of antecedent institutions, in its current form the Seminary was founded with the consolidation of Western Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary of the United Presbyterian Church in North America in 1959.

Students come from more than 30 states and represent more than 20 denominations. The Seminary’s degree programs include Master of Divinity (MDiv), also offered with an emphasis in church planting and graduate certificate in urban ministry; Master of Arts; Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry; Master of Sacred Theology; and Doctor of Ministry as well as joint master’s degrees in Divinity and Social Work in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, Divinity and Law with Duquesne University, and Divinity and Public Policy with Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has more than 3,000 alums in Pennsylvania and the United States and in several countries around the world serving in churches, community agencies, universities, hospitals, prisons, the armed forces, educational institutions, and other places.

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Melissa Logan
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
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